x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Australia chase 382 for victory

Australia need to chase a second innings target of 382 on the final day of the series-deciding fourth Test.

India's captain MS Dhoni, right, plays a shot as he restores control for the hosts in the decisive fourth Test in Nagpur.
India's captain MS Dhoni, right, plays a shot as he restores control for the hosts in the decisive fourth Test in Nagpur.

NAGPUR // Australia need to chase a second innings target of 382 on the final day of the series-deciding fourth Test after bowling out India late on the fourth day. The India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh registered vital half-centuries that gave India the marginal upper hand. India were dismissed for 295, with Australia moving to 13-0 in reply from just nine balls before bad light forced stumps.

The Australia off-spinner Jason Krejza completed an amazing 12-wicket haul on debut - the fourth-best figures by a player in his first match - but was unable to stop India from recovering from a precarious 166-6 at tea. India had a lead of 252 going into the evening session and Australia had strong hopes of keeping the chase score down, but Dhoni (55) and Harbhajan (52) benefited from the visitors inexcusably poor over-rate and regained control during a bright 108-run stand for the seventh wicket. India, who hold a 1-0 series advantage and need only a draw to regain the Boarder-Gavaskar Trophy, lost six wickets for 50 runs in the second session before Australia's momentum stalled when skipper Ricky Ponting called on his part-time bowlers to step up the over rate.

The visitors were around ten overs behind the required rate at the interval and wanted to avoid the possibility of a Ponting ban and heavy fines for the players. Ponting employed the leg-spinner Cameron White and the medium pacer Michael Hussey before calling on Michael Clarke to partner the highly effective Krejza. Dhoni took advantage of the weakened attack and India comfortably increased their lead past 300 runs. They reached 360 when Dhoni was caught by a diving Hussey, becoming Krejza's 11th victim. He hit four fours during his 81-ball knock while Harbhajan brought up his fourth 50 against Australia in 90 deliveries.

Zaheer Khan (5) was caught by the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and the innings ended when Harbhajan and Amit Mishra (7) were bowled by Shane Watson, who ended with figures of 4-42. Krejza took 8-215 in the first innings and 4-143 in the second for an unforgettable debut. His overall figures of 12-358 are the most expensive of any Test debutant and the second-most conceded in Test history. He did not strike until his 14th over when he bowled VVS Laxman (4) with a sharp-turning off break. He followed next ball by removing Sourav Ganguly, in his last Test innings, caught and bowled. The dismissal meant India had lost six wickets following the aggressive 116-run opening stand between Virender Sehwag and the rookie Murali Vijay. Sehwag's powerful 92 from 107 balls gave the hosts a strong start and he looked set for a hundred until Lee, who has struggled with nausea during the game, arrived for his second spell and the batsman glanced his first ball to Haddin.

Vijay made a composed 41 before he fell lbw to an inswinger from Shane Watson in the second over after lunch. Rahul Dravid's poor form continued when he edged Watson to Haddin, leaving India at 132-2 before the mini collapse. India's tail wagged with Dhoni and Harbhajan restoring control leaving an unlikely final day chase for the Australians. *AP